Friday 28 April 2017

Do you have a secret life,
with secret places explored
only by yourself?
Do you?
Tell me about it,
let me in.
No you can’t,
of course you can’t,
it’s a secret.
Only you can go there.
So I must imagine
your secret life for myself.
May I?
Perhaps a house
with another family in it.
Perhaps a box hidden
under the floor
old love letters
or pornographic magazines
Am I getting warm?
Of course you won’t say.
Well, you can’t say.
For you are part of
my secret life.
My imaginings,
my dreams and fantasies.
And they are part of me.
As real to me as the life I expose.
but no one can go there.
They’re my secrets.
What about you?
Do you have a secret life?
Do you?

Thursday 27 April 2017

I am dancing
in the sunlight,
the bright, bright light.
I know the cloud is there
but I can forget it, till I stop.
And then..
There it is,
even bigger
and blacker
than before.
Darker than
It doesn’t like me dancing,
doesn’t like the laughter
or the sunshine.
Brightness breaks it,
shatters it into a grey mist.
But still it won’t leave me.
The brighter the sunlight,
the louder the laughter,
the greater my fear
that it will form again
and suck me into it’s

Tuesday 25 April 2017

All those lost souls wandering sadly
in the space of their imaginations.
Where are they?
I can't find them,
can't help them.
All those lost socks swallowed.
by the washing machine.
Eaten up
Where are they?
but I can't find them.
All those lost words tumbling
through the dictionary.
Sometimes I find a few
and catch them
hold them,
write them down.
Then, sometimes
a few more find me
and I grab them too
and re arrange them all.
Sometimes they are worth reading
found and picked up for keeping.
First published in Silver Apples Issue 9, People We Left Behind

Monday 24 April 2017

Grains of Time
Time is running out for me
And I sit here gazing into space
Watching each grain trickle away.
I can't catch them,
Can't stop them,
Can't slow them down
Or speed them up.
I can only live the moment
As it passes.
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Saturday 22 April 2017

The Hedgerow Fairies
Where have they gone,
the hedgerow fairies
in their harebell hats?
I used to see them sitting
under their leafy roofs
stitching their summer dresses
of poppy and mallow petals
with long silk threads
catching the summer sunlight
as the smiling spiders spun.
I miss them so,
the hedgerow fairies
in their harebell hats.
I used to see them collecting
armfuls of meadow sweet
to stuff their nighttime mattresses,
making doorways in their new
toadstool homes with sharp stones.
Maybe they’ve gone underground
to escape the passing cars and tractors.
Maybe they only come out at night now
and stitch and stuff under the moonlight.
I don’t know.
But I miss them so,
the hedgerow fairies
in their harebell hats.
The Hedgerow Fairies Where have they gone, the hedgerow fairies in their harebell hats? I used to see them sitting under their leafy roofs ...

Thursday 20 April 2017

Motherly Love
I have spent a lifetime
trying to break away,
trying to break out, 
trying to find myself.
Always on the edge,
always on the outside,
not quite a part,
of it, not quite
a beatnik,
or a mod,
hippy, or
I was early to realise that
what she wanted me to be
was what she had wanted
for herself, about her, not me.
I wanted to escape such love.
I thought I could escape.
I thought I had escaped.
And I did, surely I did
of it.
But not all.
Not enough.
So even now I feel tethered.
After all this time of leaving
her behind,
I remain
of my

Wednesday 19 April 2017

I can hear the flies buzzing
since I died.
In life I could shoo them away,
open a window
to persuade them through,
though usually they were
too stupid
to grasp the chance of freedom
offered and escape.
Now there is no window to be
This is a closed space.
Eternal night.
No possibility
of freedom,
or escape.
Not for me.
Not for them.

Sunday 16 April 2017

The End
Once up on a time
he thought
the worst would be
not knowing
what happened next,
not knowing
how it all ended.
with the madness spiraling
into an ever tighter vortex,
he no longer wants to know
he thinks
there will be no end
to the madness.
Only his end
with his death.
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Thursday 13 April 2017

Cabbage Dreams
I am dreaming my cabbage dream.
I’m peeling off the outer leaves
to find what lies hidden beneath.
Looks much the same as the outer leaf,
a little less battered and crinkled
but fundamentally the same.
Now for the next layer.
There’s a drop of water
shining full of light
and something darker, more solid,
the leavings of some hidden creature.
Another layer reveals the holes
and the sleepy caterpillar
without his pipe
without his crown,
so unsure of
his own
much less mine.
If I peel off
layer after layer until
I get to the heart of it,
will I understand where I’ve come from
and be able to unpack the dream,
find the pipe and put the pieces
together, make sense of the
cabbage, crown the king.

Wednesday 12 April 2017

On Our Watch

If it had been on his watch,
he would have seen,
he would have given the alarm,
would have been heard
and catastrophe would have been avoided.
She also was alert,
but it was not her watch
and no one heard her warnings.
On their watch we would have heard
the warnings.

But it happened on our watch

and we were sleeping.

Monday 10 April 2017

The Fall
I'm running downhill
faster and faster.
I'm crossing the bridge now,
still running,
to the end of the bridge,
trying to see the end.
But there is no end
and I'm falling now,
falling into the arms
of the demons below
with their waving arms
and their claws primed
waiting to break my fall
and swallow me up
into their depths.
I grasp at the air,
cling to the wind
I’m clinging
to a hopeful ray of sunshine
to carry me up,
to take me with it
into the light.
I'm floating,
floating upwards or down.
It's not clear,
am I still falling or am I
floating upwards
into the light.
Buy mgv2_88 | Swan Song | 04_17 by Walter Ruhlmann (Paperback) online at Lulu. Visit the Lulu…

Sunday 9 April 2017

Which Way
I’m on the edge of the horizon
looking back.
There’s no looking forwards.
Looking up
I can see the sky,
blue or grey like the sea.
Reflected sunlight,
clouds rippling like waves
making shapes in the sand.
Wave shapes on the land.
Sometimes it’s so bright
I can’t tell the blue from the grey,
the cloud from the clear,
the sky from the sea.
The light blinds me.
It’s too bright for my eyes
and leaves me confused
on the edge of the horizon,
on a thin line
with only one way to go.

Saturday 8 April 2017

Every tree is different.
Sometimes it can be a container
for an embryonic form,
perhaps a parasite
yet to grow branches
to match it’s parent.
Maybe it never will be a match,
but always an alien
Or maybe a new tree will branch
from the belly of another alien
We must wait and see.
Every tree is different.
First published in Visual Verse, April 2017

Friday 7 April 2017

Standing High
Sometimes standing high
above it all
adds colour to a life.
Sometimes you can only see
the monochrome,
the black and white,
the greys.
But perhaps then
I’ll be seen in colour
by those looking down
or looking up at me,
wondering if I will fall.

Thursday 6 April 2017

In The End
In the end
I'll be like you.
Dust with
flakes of skin and bone
wrapped in long hair.
Teeth chattering
With no voice.
No sense of taste
or smell.
No reason.
In the end
we'll be invisible,
But then, we always were
you and I,
we always were.

Monday 3 April 2017

Dandelion clocks

The field was yellow
with dandelion flowers
only a week ago.
A field of sunshine.
I caught it at that moment,
a moment in time.
And now the moment has passed,
clocked off,
has become a field of clocks
which can’t tell what time it is.
Only that the yellow sunshine
was fragile,
as fragile as a dandelion clock.
Only that time has passed
leaving only clocks
that will soon be wished
away in the wind.

First published in Midnight Circus, Spring 2017

Saturday 1 April 2017


I’m puzzled.
You can see it in my face, can’t you?
When I was a child, black cats were lucky,
especially if they could be persuaded to
cross your path.
Now they’re unlucky.
No one wants them.
You can see why I’m puzzled, can’t you
as I ponder what happened to bring about
this change.
Did they, ever catlike, decide not to co-operate
with the path crossing business
and turn tail to scarper
in the opposite direction?
Or maybe stand their ground
and snarl
and spit
and bare their teeth
like demons.
Perhaps that was it.
Then there’s the raven.
Can it really call ‘nevermore’.
I have heard many a raven call,
but never a
So again, I’m puzzled.
You can see it in my face, can’t you?